Music School - West Neighbourhood House

Members of the Kids Choir got their first taste of the stage by performing as gingerbread children in a production of Hansel and Gretel at the Canadian Opera Company in February 2019.

The Music School at West Neighbourhood House has been providing adults and children with the chance to experience the joy of music since 1930.

Please note, all Music School programs are on pause. 

Today, students (ages 7+) and of all musical abilities are welcome to enroll in programs at the Music School. Subsidies are available.

Essential Information

The programs available include:

  • Kids Choir, a non-auditioned choir for children 7-13 years old. With conductor Leanne Piller, students will learn a wide variety of songs that build a sense of belonging, respect for diversity, and positive social change from a youth perspective.
  • Toronto Song Lovers Adults Choir, an adult community choir (ages 14 and up) that sings a wide range of music from spiritual and show tunes to world music and folk. There is no audition and all are welcome.
  • Private music lessons for children and adults.
  • Let’s Get Musical, a program for older adults run through our Adult Day Program.
  • Youth Inside Opera Program


In-person classes.


  • Kids Choir — Tuesdays, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
  • Toronto Song Lovers Adults Choir — Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Private music lessons — by appointment only.
  • Opera Makers – Date and times TBD.


  • Kids Choir — $3.00-$8.00 per week (sliding scale subsidy)
  • Toronto Song Lovers Adults Choir — $3.00-$8.00 per week (sliding scale subsidy)
  • Private music lessons —
    • 30 min.: $22.00
    • 45 min.: $33.00
    • 60 min.: $44.00

How to Register:

All music school programs are on pause.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of the Music School? 
The Music School at West Neighbourhood House is Canada’s second-longest running community music school. It was started in 1930 by then-agency director Lally Fleming, the Music School’s first Director Helen Larkin and Sir Ernest MacMillan of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Sir Ernest MacMillan had the idea to use the Music School as a practical training course for the Conservatory’s music education students. This would also provide an opportunity for students to find room and board, as St. Christopher House was at that time a full settlement house, with staff living and working in the same building. (You can read more about our history here.)

This arrangement with the Conservatory led to a long-term relationship with Boris Berlin, who was one of the first teachers at St. Christopher House Music School, and who later became a legend in music education in Canada. Mr. Berlin was a special guest at St. Chris’ 70th Birthday Celebrations in April, 2000.

How has the Music School evolved over the last century?
Since its inception in 1930, the changing interests of our community have been mirrored by various initiatives of the Music School  Important teachers from the National Ballet School taught dance. We sponsored the first steel drum band in Canada (second in North America), which became so large that we spun it off into the community as its own school. We have had all manner of programs in between, ranging from marching bands to jazz instruction.

Does the Music School offer subsidies for program fees? 
One of the mandates of the Music School is to ensure affordable lessons. Further subsidy can be available to those who meet the requirements. Students who qualify for subsidy must live within our catchment area which is Bathurst to Roncesvalles, Bloor to the Lakeshore. Each case is individual and subsidy amounts vary according to a sliding scale. All information is confidential between the Coordinator and family. Copies of proof of income and proof of address must be included with the registration form.

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